NEW ORLEANS - Four members of the Oregon track and field program were honored, Monday, as the United States Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association unveiled their 2014 regional awards.
Jenna Prandini was named the West Region Women’s Track Athlete of the Year while Robert Johnson, Andy Powell and Curtis Taylor were also awarded coaching honors. Johnson won the West Region Men’s Coach of the Year while Andy Powell and Curtis Taylor were given the men’s and women’s coaching awards, respectively.
Prandini, a sophomore from Fresno, Calif., became the first woman since 1999 to win three individual Pac-12 titles in the same meet with wins both at 100 and 200 meters, as well as in the long jump, to go along with a runner-up finish in the 4×100 relay. She is ranked among the top five in the nation in each of the three individual events, and is one of just three women who will contest three individual events at the NCAA Championships.
Johnson leads Oregon’s 21 men’s entries to the NCAA finals which is the most of any school in the country as the Ducks also carry a No. 1 national ranking. The Ducks are one of two teams to be represented in every event area for the national finals. Johnson, in his second year as the leader and ninth year overall with the program, led the Ducks to their eighth-consecutive Pac-12 Championship.
Powell, in his ninth year as the men’s distance coach at Oregon, qualified 19 entries into the NCAA West Preliminary Rounds and 11 men’s distance and middle-distance entries to the NCAA Championships, seven more than any program in the country. Oregon has entries at the NCAA Championships in every distance event, including four entries in the 5,000 meters. Powell coaches three athletes in the top 10 in the NCAA this year at 1,500m, including Edward Cheserek, whose 3:36.60 is the ninth all-time in collegiate history.
Taylor, in his first year with UO, coached athletes to 41 points in the women’s sprints and hurdles to help the Ducks win their sixth-consecutive Pac-12 Championship. He coached Pac-12 Athlete of the Meet Jenna Prandini to wins in the 100 and 200. Prandini, who is ranked second nationally in the 100 and third nationally in the 200, is undefeated in individual events on the track this season. With seven sprints, hurdles, and relays entries into the NCAA Championship, Oregon is tied for the fifth most among all teams.
Oregon will host the NCAA Championships this week, June 11-14 at Historic Hayward Field. Tickets are still available HERE.